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Indy Car Vs F1 Comparison Essay

If you’re looking to visit one of the world’s premiere racing events, which one should you choose? That’s a common question for those that have just been introduced to the racing world. Hopefully we can help you determine which type of race experience is most suitable for you.

Most everyone has heard of the Indianapolis 500, and everyone hears about the Daytona 500. What about Silverstone, Spa and Monaco? Formula 1 racing is one of Europe’s top sports. It has officially been around since 1950 and brings a constant and consistent stream of followers to every major circuit around the world. You might ask yourself, “What is the difference between the cars, courses, and fans of each major series?”  Hopefully we can help you figure this out and spark an interest.



A sport that officially began in 1947, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is based out of Daytona, FL., where it’s headliner race is held twice per year. NASCAR has grown in popularity and is ranked 2nd, behind the NFL, as the highest ranked sport that is televised in the U.S., and holds the top position in sponsorship among Fortune 500 companies. Attendance ranks high, with the Sprint Cup leading the race with around 3.5 million in 2013. Remember, NASCAR holds multiple cup races during a season:

  • Sprint Cup (link to
  • Nationwide Cup
  • Camping World Truck Series
  • ARCA Racing Series
  • Canadian Tire Series
  • NASCAR Toyota Series
  • Whelen Euroseries
  • Regional Racing Series
  • NASCAR Series

INDY Car Racing

If you haven’t seen an Indy Car, it is noticeably different than the stock cars of NASCAR, having an open wheel design, open cockpit, and wings on the front and rear of the racecar.  Inside, it sports a 2.2 liter twin-turbo, methanol powered engine. While drafting is a normal practice, you won’t see much contact here as the threat of a serious accident is much higher with open wheels and carbon fiber shards from the bodywork.

The Indianapolis 500, first raced in 1911, has been known as the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, and takes up the entire month of May with practice, qualifying and the raceday. In the 500-mile race around the 2.5-mile oval, with speeds reaching 230mph, drivers have become legends in the world of racing. Some of those drivers include:

  • Mario Andretti
  • A.J. Foyt
  • Al Unser
  • Rick Mears

Al wasn’t the only Unser to win at Indy; his brother Bobby won 3 times and his son, Al Jr., won twice, bringing the total to 9 wins for the Unser family.

The Long Beach Grand Prix, raced on the streets, is another well-known Indy Car race that brings excitement because of a high celebrity turnout, and their own celebrity race. Indy Car races happen on oval, temporary street, and dedicated road courses, of which Watkins Glen is one of the most famous, hosting races for many different series.


Formula 1

F1 racing is the pinnacle of all auto racing in terms of technology, budget, and glamour. Only 11 teams are authorized to compete in the 17 event series with races all over the globe. This makes for an extremely competitive environment, in which teams spend upwards of $470M per year for their 2-car team. Some of the prerequisites for entering a team into the F1 series are:

  • Designing and constructing their own unique and advanced racecars within specifications for the chassis and power plant, like having a 1.6-liter turbo-charged gasoline powered engine.
  • Each of the 11 teams is a franchise which means that no new teams can enter until another is sold, and each must prove that they can compete at the same level as the other teams

This sport attracts some of the world’s most passionate fans, sometimes climbing trees to view the course (getting the best seat in the house). These fans root for teams instead of the face of the franchise, which are the drivers in other series. Ferrari, Red Bull, and Mercedes are some of the fan’s favorite teams. If you’re Italian, you’re a Ferrari fan, period.  (Se sei Italiano, tifa Ferrari, basta!)

The attention to detail doesn’t lack when it comes to the rest of the race, either. The tracks, the garages, and even the team trailers are extravagant, mirroring the image of the sport: invigorating, high-end and sexy. Pit stops can be exciting to watch for the 2.4 seconds that they last, compared to the 10+ seconds for Indy Cars, and 15 seconds for NASCAR. Even more exciting are the standing starts where the drivers wait for a green light before racing to the first turn. It might not seem the logical place for “green” technology, but the ERS (energy recovery system) in the F1 power plant allows the smaller engine with a single turbo to take energy from the intense braking in the corners, and transfer it to the battery for straight line acceleration thus allowing for an engine with less horsepower to recycle and reuse the car’s own kinetic energy.

In decades past, F1 car designers looked to the aerospace industry for inspiration and technology. But F1 technology develops at such a fast pace, that these days, the aerospace industry turns to F1 when it comes to concepts, systems and design.

Luckily, the F1 series visits North America twice per year, in Montreal in June, and Austin, Texas in November.  Don’t miss this chance to see world class racing in its highest form when they come to town!

If you’re interested in attending one of these amazing Formula 1 races, check out our Fandeavor F1 page (Click here)

And for NASCAR, check out the Fandeavor NASCAR page (Click here)

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Written by fandeavor

But the opportunity was only made possible by a recent, important shift in the dynamics of international motorsports.

“It only became possible this year,” Alonso said. “It is a unique situation. In F1 this year, I am working with an underperforming car. Winning at Monaco is not possible, but winning at Indianapolis certainly is. So why not try?”

Until this year, the titans who ruled Formula One the past 40-odd years would not have allowed it. They would have considered it a betrayal in a competitive turf war that has raged between Formula One and Indy cars for decades.

“I would have blocked it,” said Bernie Ecclestone, 86, the major-domo of Formula One until he was pushed out this year in a power struggle with the new ownership of the series.

Also out of the picture now is McLaren’s equally imperious chief executive, Ron Dennis, 69, who was replaced by Brown in the off-season.

“Ron wouldn’t have allowed it,” Ecclestone told reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix on April 14, two days after Alonso’s Indy 500 venture was announced. “I think I could have persuaded him and McLaren not to go — and I would have.”

When Dennis took control of the team in the early 1980s, he pulled McLaren’s entries at the Indy 500, which the team had won three times in the 1970s.

But Brown, a 56-year-old American, enthusiastically fostered the deal that would allow Alonso to drive for Michael Andretti’s team using a McLaren-branded car in the 500.

“I think Zak is a man that has a bigger vision than other team principals or bosses that I’ve had,” Alonso said. “I think he also wants to run Indy for more years than just this one. In the future, I think Zak would like to see McLaren also expand to compete again in the 24-hour race at Le Mans, France.”

For Alonso, who has been despondent this season about McLaren’s lack of pace in Formula One, the Le Mans race also holds great interest.

“My career objectives are very ambitious,” Alonso said. “I intend to win the Triple Crown of the greatest races: Monaco, Indy and Le Mans.”

Le Mans is a dream that Alonso, 35, sees as further down the road — perhaps after his Formula One career is over. His focus is now on Indy.

“I know that to win is a lot to ask from a rookie,” he said. “If I don’t win, I will see how I feel afterward. To see if I enjoyed it, and if I was competitive. But if I want to win the Indy 500, and I feel I can, I’m sure I will want to come back and to keep trying to win.”

Mark Miles, IndyCar racing’s chief executive, said he saw McLaren’s decision to return to Indianapolis as a plus for motorsports in general — but especially for IndyCar and Formula One.

“It creates interest around both events that wasn’t there before,” he said.

Alonso added, “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Formula One was sold this year to an American media conglomerate, Liberty Media, with the stated aim of broadening Formula One’s appeal and promoting new ideas and areas of interest.

Down through the years, Ecclestone and other Formula One executives like Max Mosley actively thwarted the intentions of many drivers like Mario Andretti, the IndyCar star who aspired to race in both circuits. Andretti, who said he was threatened with international competition license revocations and other punitive measures, had to skip the Indy 500 in 1979 to race at Monaco. He finished a dismal 12th.

“It would have been impossible to do both races since they were on the same day that year,” Andretti said.

That the Monaco Grand Prix, inaugurated in 1929, and the Indy 500, which last year celebrated its 100th running, are now held on the same day is a relatively recent phenomenon.

“It’s only been since 1974 that the Indianapolis 500 has been scheduled to run on a Sunday like Monaco,” said Donald Davidson, Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s historian. “Prior to that, it was a fixture on Memorial Day, which was observed on various days, from Tuesdays to a Saturday.”

Indy’s unusual scheduling before 1974 often allowed a number of drivers, from Formula One to Nascar, to participate.

“In 1967, for example,” Davidson said, “there were six drivers from Formula One in the 500 field.”

The Nascar drivers Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough also drove at Indy, but Nascar’s current drivers face similar conflicts with the Coca-Cola 600 run near Charlotte, N.C., on the same day as the 500. Drivers like Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and Kurt Busch have attempted to “do the double” by racing at Indy in the morning and flying to Charlotte for the evening event there.

Cooperation, though, was far greater in earlier racing eras; in fact, in the 1950s, the Indy 500 was actually a points-paying event on the Formula One calendar.

So although he would have tried to block Alonso’s dream to run the 500, Ecclestone still wished him well in the endeavor.

“I think it’s probably good for him,” Eccelstone said. “I hate to see him at the back of the grid. He is much too good a driver for that. He deserves a chance to win.”

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